May 16th, 2015 | Album reviews


Assembling is the second full album by Two Sheds, the creative vehicle of spouses Caitlin and Johnny Gutenberger. The work consists of fifteen tracks that generally hew to the conventions of female-fronted country rock, in the vein of Mazzy Star. The album’s press blurb intimates that the songs were compiled from two days of writing sessions, and were recorded in four days. That compressed schedule helps explain much of what is right and most of what is wrong with the album. The album’s failings derive from an apparent lack of editing, as with the inclusion of weaker tracks, notably “Choose” and “The Feel,” as well as some recording choices, like the decision to include vocal count-ins on “Heavy” and “Gone.” Regardless, the album succeeds by virtue of songs that sound fresh, crafted by musicians without time to second-guess their instincts. On standouts “Bully” and “Gone,” Caitlin Gutenberger showcases a plain, strong female voice that stands out in an indie rock milieu beset with affectations. In turn, each of the instrumentalists brings a straightforward, thoughtful approach to his or her instrument, creating a seamless, unpretentious, eminently listenable whole.

—Josh Solberg